Monday, February 15, 2016

You Can Know You're Saved, part two

Many Christians admittedly struggle with assurance of salvation. They have a difficult time accepting the notion that there are promises for the next life guaranteed in Christ. Hope in God is pitted against a seemingly uncertain future. Questions like, "Am I really saved?" or "Will I really go to heaven when I die?" are a real challenge for some, and fuel the fire of doubt and skepticism. 


This series of two posts was written to those who struggle with the surety of salvation. The chart below is used as a reference for both entries. If you want to use it, let me know by contacting me via the tab above. Read the first post here.



-PERSPECTIVE
-PARTICULAR PEOPLE

POSITION

Although a Christian may not fully understand (let alone feel) like he's in good eternal standing with God, the fact of the matter is that he is. His position has been elevated.

Ephesians 1, the aforementioned passage that lives at the heart of this matter, says this:


I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 1:18-20)

It then goes on to include us in the picture.


And you were dead in your trespasses and sins...But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:1, 4-6)


Where is the Christian according to God? The believer is with Jesus every step of the way. God crucifies us with Christ (Galatians 2:20), raises us to new life with Christ (Romans 6:5), and sits us next to Him in the heavenly places in Christ. 

What a thought! The follower of Jesus is in the most advantageous position possible. He's not striving for divine favor or seeking to earn a spot at the table on his own merit; the Christian is securely placed next to the Father through the sacrifice of the Son and the work of the Spirit. It is finished. His position is fixed.

To illustrate the point, think of a radio-controlled clock. These are the clocks that are synchronized with atomic clocks that are regulated by a standards institute that really cares about precision. And there's a lot of science involved.

The radio-controlled clock doesn't take much science to put together. It simply needs a way to communicate to the very precise atomic clocks (there are only two in the U.S.) so that it will convey the exact time. The radio-controlled clock isn't atomic and it's not incredibly complicated; however, the nearly-perfect time that was conjured through strenuous measures by the atomic clock is imputed to the radio-controlled clock. Because the radio-controlled clock is connected to the atomic clock, it is able to be viewed as completely accurate.

In the same way, the Christian is perfectly connected to God through the Savior, Jesus Christ. Though men and women left to themselves could never be viewed as good or holy in God's eyes, they are deemed perfect in Christ because God has seated them in the heavenly places in Him. And just as most people don't understand how the radio-to-atomic clock communication works, yet they trust its accuracy, the Christian can trust what God has said about his position because He is completely right. 

PROMISE

This leads into the final point. Believers can have great hope for their eternal future because God has made promises about it. Christians are secure evermore.

A final passage to consider is in Romans, mentioned in the first post:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30)

Notice the tense of the verbs. That's nearly always a critical aspect of Paul's writings.

Christians were predestined, called, justified, and glorified. These are stated in past tense. Though some of these events are yet future in the lives of the particular people that God has chosen, the promises of the events are just as real as if they'd already happened.

The promise of glorification -- meaning that the believer will be changed in the twinkling of an eye, given an immortal body to live forever with God -- is so sure that God can talk about it as though it has already happened. That's an incredible promise!

Our God is an eternal God who is worthy of eternal praise. Who will be there to magnify Him for the rest of eternity? 

They will be those whom He has chosen; they will be those who are already positioned in the heavenly places in Christ; they will be those to whom He has spoken of as already being glorified. 

The Lord is already in eternity future. He's there with us. You're there with Him. He said so.

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